CFP v CFA: Compared

trajan

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79
I'd heard of CFP before - a sort of high-class QFA qualification suited to advising wealthy individuals and businesses.
But now I hear of another international qualification, CFA.
Is the latter course covering essentially the same ground as CFP ?
If so, is the perspective/emphasis different ?
Are the 2 qualifications equally suitable to financial advisory roles for people with elaborate financial planning needs ?
 

elacsaplau

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599
My understanding of the differences

The CFP is, indeed, QFA+ and if you pay your money and attend classes is practically impossible to fail.

The CFA is a highly reputed qualification for investment professionals and no bother, at all, to fail.
 

SBarrett

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3,123
My understanding of the differences

The CFP is, indeed, QFA+ and if you pay your money and attend classes is practically impossible to fail.

The CFA is a highly reputed qualification for investment professionals and no bother, at all, to fail.
You have to do a Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning to be eligible to sit the CFP exam. The Grad Dip is run by UCD and it is very possible to fail your exams under this course.

When you have your Grad Dip, you are then eligible to do the CFP exams which is a case study exam (3 hours long I think). In Ireland, it seems to be difficult to fail this alright. From talking to international planners, there is quiet a high failure rate in the UK and the USA.


The Grad Dip is a very useful qualification to have and I have found it very beneficial to the service I can offer clients. The CFP is just letters after your name.

Steven
www.bluewaterfp.ie
 

SBarrett

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3,123
I'd heard of CFP before - a sort of high-class QFA qualification suited to advising wealthy individuals and businesses.
But now I hear of another international qualification, CFA.
Is the latter course covering essentially the same ground as CFP ?
If so, is the perspective/emphasis different ?
Are the 2 qualifications equally suitable to financial advisory roles for people with elaborate financial planning needs ?
Not necessarily. Everyone needs good financial advice that doesn't involve selling products. The Grad dip provides you with the knowledge to do this.


Steven
www.bluewaterfp.ie
 

elacsaplau

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599
In Ireland, it seems to be difficult to fail this alright.
Naturally, I was referring to Ireland - so good that we are agreed on the CFP piece. I have a pal who did the GDip/CFP. He told me some of the guys in the class were clueless (this guy isn't at all) and he didn't know of any who sat the UCD/GDip exams who didn't pass. I have no reason to doubt what he said but if you have data the contradicts, go for it!
 

trajan

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79
Thanks for your feedback, chaps.
Sounds like CFA is the better qual.
By the sound of it, it's more likely to be CFA than CFP that a contact of mine is doing. He goes on about fin analytics a lot. That seems to suggest a difference in emphasis - and maybe depth of content - between the 2 programmes of study.
That being so, maybe the CFAs might be looking more to a job with a large financial house rather than becoming an adviser ?
 

elacsaplau

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599
Hi Trajan,

For a job as a financial adviser, the CFP might make more sense. I think you captured it well when talking about depth. CFA gets into investment related stuff deeply whereas CFP looks at a much broader range of subjects but in much less depth. Earlier criticism aside, it's a level 9 qualification, from a reputable uni so it must be a big improvement on the QFA. The problem is that you could have two people who compete the CFP, one of who is very capable and the other not at all - and the qualification (coz pretty much everyone passes) won't separate the wheat from the chaff!
 

SBarrett

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3,123
Hi Trajan,

For a job as a financial adviser, the CFP might make more sense. I think you captured it well when talking about depth. CFA gets into investment related stuff deeply whereas CFP looks at a much broader range of subjects but in much less depth. Earlier criticism aside, it's a level 9 qualification, from a reputable uni so it must be a big improvement on the QFA. The problem is that you could have two people who compete the CFP, one of who is very capable and the other not at all - and the qualification (coz pretty much everyone passes) won't separate the wheat from the chaff!
Agree with this 100%. It was an argument a lot of us made at the time. Pass mark is 40%. I got 1st class honours but have the same qualification at someone who got a pass. We used to say "do you want to see a doctor who came top or bottom of their class".

I wouldn't have the stats on the pass rate of the grad dip. Not that interested in it to bother finding out either.


Steven
www.bluewaterfp.ie
 

trajan

Frequent Poster
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79
Okay, thanks all. I've now got a good handle on the 2 quals.
Just looking at LinkedIn I see that the CFAs seem to have more Master's degrees, often in finance and even fin maths. The jobs they have also seem more like fund manager type jobs than public advisory roles.
Anyhow, thanks to you all.
 

SBarrett

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3,123
They are completely different qualifications for completely different jobs.

There was another thread about it on here recently with the same query as you had.
 

JDQ0604

Registered User
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15
CFP is an internationally recognized Qualification in terms of giving financial advice - as pointed out you must complete the grad dip to be allowed sit the CFP exam in Ireland, the Grad Dip from UCD is excellent and believe me you can fail any of these exams. It is a whole other ball game from the QFA in terms of the subject matter, time and effort required.

The CFA is specifically to do with back office analysis of investments etc, it is highly technical and more likely to be found in the funds industry.

Honestly don’t see any relation between the two and don’t know why they would be compared against each other. One is For advisers, one is technical analysis. Both are excellent qualifications that require a lot of hard work.
 

trajan

Frequent Poster
Messages
79
Honestly don’t see any relation between the two and don’t know why they would be compared against each other.

Just to explain why we were comparing the courses:-

It was originally a confusion in my mind between CFP and CFA because an acquaintance was doing exams for one of them. I'd assumed it was CFP since he said something about it being 'higher than QFA'. However he always changed the subject to analytics whenever I raised the CFP work experience requirement; and I'd never heard of CFA at that point. In puzzlement at his attitude, I Googled a bit and found something on CFA exams in Ireland and the fees for these matched those he spoke about. The 2 courses, CFP and CFA, seemed to have very different fees and 'candidate casualty rates' although having broadly the same sort of content. To resolve the differences I (a financial greenhorn) came to AAM.
I hope that my position is now clear.

From the foregoing answers I have deduced that most CFAs do the sort of work you suggest, i.e. investment analysis, fund management, etc. However a small few financial advisers - perhaps those undertaking active management of their own investment funds ? - also have the CFA qualification with their CFP. (You can see this by searching on "ireland CFP CFA" on LinkedIn.)

I suppose that's all there is to be said on this.
Thanks to JDQ, Itchy, SB and Elac.
 

JDQ0604

Registered User
Messages
15
Last thing I would say on the above - there is more than enough covered in the asset management module of the Grad Dip for an adviser to be able to assist a client in actively managing their funds if that’s what is required. You are awarded a specialist investment adviser certificate on completion of this module also (this module only)If any CFP has done the CFA on top of that- Fair play to them.
 
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